ION names winners of 8th annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition

February 7, 2018  - By
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The winner’s of ION’s 8th annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition was team “Snow Squirrel” from the University of Minnesota. Photo courtesy of ION.

The Institute of Navigation’s (ION) Satellite Division held its 8th annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition Jan. 25-28 at Rice Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition, held in cooperation with the ION North Star Section, is an international event open to college and university students, as well as the general public. According to ION, the competition challenges teams to design, build and operate a fully autonomous snowplow using state-of-the-art navigation and control technologies.

Eleven teams entered the competition, and eight of those teams successfully completed all the phases of the competition. Each team used a variety of navigation systems, including lira, optical navigation systems, inertial instruments, magnetic sensors, ultra wide-band radio reflectors, visual odometry, GNSS and differential GPS, to rapidly and accurately clear a designated path of snow.

Teams were judged based upon their cumulative scores earned throughout the competition phases, including presentations and dynamic vehicle events.

The first place team was the University of Minnesota’s “Snow Squirrel” team. The team was awarded $7,000 and a Golden Snow Globe Award, and is invited to present during the ION GNSS+ 2018 conference Sept. 24-38 in Miami. The second place team was the Dunwoody College of Technology’s “Wendigo 2018” team, which was awarded $4,000 and a Silver Snow Globe Award. Finally, the third place team was North Dakota State University’s “Thundar 3.0” team, which received $2,000 and a Bronze Snow Globe Award.

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Allison Barwacz is the digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Pit & Quarry magazine, Portable Plants magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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